Near the entrance to the cave, run your hand over tiny fossilized shells and coral embedded in the smooth Deseret limestone cliff. It’s hard to imagine that at 6,730 feet above sea level, you’re standing on an ancient shoreline. In the middle of Utah.
Get ready to enter a mountain fault in the heart of Timpanogos. This Utah National Monument includes three linked and spectacularly decorated caverns. The Timpanogos cave tour includes unique colors and formations that is sure to amaze. Helictites, stalactites, stalagmites and calcite crusts, draperies and frostwork are just a few of the many dazzling formations found in the chambers of one of the most popular caves in Utah. It's also the first National Park Service unit to be certified as an Urban Night Sky Place by the International Dark-Sky Association.
Get a reservation to ensure your spot in line for the tour at this popular cave in Utah. The only access to the cave system is by walking a strenuous 1.5-mile paved trail, which rises 1,092 ft to an elevation of 6,730 feet above sea level. Wear appropriate footwear and carry water, especially in summer. The park recommends at least one liter of water per person as temperatures reach over 100 degrees F on the cave trail in the summer. The inside of the cave is a cool 45 degrees. A light jacket is also recommended for this outdoor adventure.
The cave is open May-October and admission is free. Guided tour tickets range in cost from $8.00 - $4.00 per person and may be purchased up to 30 days in advance. Admission for infants 2 and under is free, but a ticket is still required.
The visitor center and trailhead are in American Fork Canyon, accessed east of I-15 on state Route 92. From I-15, take Exit 284 (Alpine-Highland), turn east towards the mountains on state Route 92 and proceed ten miles to the monument. By summer, when conditions permit, S.R. 92, the Alpine Loop, re-opens and passes Sundance Mountain Resort before completing the circle around Mount Timpanogos and connecting with U.S. 189 in Provo Canyon.
Timpanogos Cave National Monument R.R. 3, Box 200 American Fork, UT 84003 (801) 756-5238 www.nps.gov/tica
Lodging and Camping Near Timpanogos Cave
While there is no Timpanogos Cave camping, the national monument's location in American Fork Canyon on the Alpine Loop means campers have access to both developed campgrounds and primitive camping on the Pleasant Grove Ranger District of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. Only minutes away, the cities of Lehi, Orem and Provo in the Utah Valley abound with hotel and lodging accommodations.